Long Promised Road

Mario Lichtenstein & Beach Boys Team to Fight Brain Cancer

Allison Weiss Brady speaks with Mario Lichtenstein about his upcoming “Sounding Off For A Cure” concert fundraiser featuring the Beach Boys at The Fillmore at The Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach. The event benefits Voices Against Brain Cancer.

AWB: Congratulations on having your first Miami “Sounding Off For A Cure” concert fundraiser on Thursday, April 14th at The Fillmore at The Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach. I am excited to see The Beach Boys perform! Why have a concert as a means to raise funds for your non-profit Voices Against Brain Cancer?

Voices Against Brain Cancer founder Mario Lichtenstein with Carolina Martinez and baseball All-Star Pedro Martinez

Music is therapeutic and appeals to all the senses. The inspiration was my son Gary, who died of brain cancer and was a musician; so it’s a wonderful tribute to his life. All of our performers at the April 14th event including The Beach Boys with special guest John Stamos, Lou Gramm (former lead singer of Foreigner), the Osmond Bros, and Gloria Gaynor are either a survivor or had someone they love affected by brain cancer. The event is being emceed by CBS4 entertainment reporter Lisa Petrillo. The performers are being accompanied by the Frost Music School Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, a 50 piece orchestra directed by Dean Shelly Berg which consists of undergraduates, graduates, and professors.

There will also be a tribute to those who died of brain cancer, including the composer Gerschwin, Cecilia Cruz, George Harrison of The Beatles, Bob Marley (one of his sons will be performing a few songs, and Nara Leao, who helped with the birth of the bossa nova in the 1950’s.

We recently created a special award called “Sounding Off for a Cure.” The first recipient of the award is Jon Stoll, who was the founder of Fantasma Productions, and he produced some of the area’s greatest concerts like Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Sting, Gloria Estefan, and many more. We will be presenting this award posthumously, and his longtime friend and legendary DJ Rick Shaw will be presenting to his family.

AWB: What will the money raised from the event go toward?

I have always been a person to set high goals in every aspect of my life whether in business or my personal life. When we started, we understood the urgency to find a cure for brain cancer, and the purpose of our upcoming event on April 14th is to fund cutting-edge medical research grants.

We have compiled the best of the best to create an incredible medical advisory board and have been funding research grants to Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, University of Michigan, UCLA, Sloan Kettering, and more incredible institutions. Because of the impact Voices Against Brain Cancer has made among the brain cancer community, and our growth as a major voice to represent this South Florida community, we have been forced to jump from a regional to an international organization in just six short years. As we grow with new partnerships and marketing initiatives such as social media, we feel the impact of Voices Against Brain Cancer will grow exponentially.

AWB: What amazing South Florida people do you have involved with the event?

We have Voices Against Brain Cancer “Board Members” and “Ambassadors”, who spread the word about the event, and encourage more people to get involved. Community leaders including Board Members include Jorge Plasencia, Real Housewives of Miami’s Marysol Patton, Geno Chaviano, and baseball All-star Pedro Martinez, who pitched the last game of the World Series for the Phillies to help them win. “Ambassadors” include Yolanda and Jeff Berkowitz, Carole and Oscar Seikaly, Louis Aguierre, Frank Amadeo, Gingi Beltran, Carlos Betancourt, Mark Swartz, and many more.

We have a team that is working tirelessly on the event! Marysol Patton’s company The Patton Group is handling the public relations, and Mark Swartz fro Music Markit is organizing the musical performances. The Beach Boys are one of my favorite groups, and I can’t wait to hear them perform.

Additionally, the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana (the same one that produces Carnaval Miami and Calle Ocho) has formed a committee to partner with us to produce outreach projects in the community. This will be the first community co-operative for brain cancer awareness in South Florida. One of the strongest supporters of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana was Celia Cruz, and we will be making a tribute to her at the event.

AWB: What or who was the inspiration for your non-profit Voices Against Brain Cancer?

My son Gary, who died of brain cancer, often said to me, “Dad, you have to find a cure for this.” Kids look at parents and think they have a magic wand they can just wave and make everything better. By creating this Institute, that’s what we are trying to do, but we need the community’s support at our 1st Annual Benefit Concert on April 14th at The Fillmore at Jackie Gleason Theatre in Miami Beach in order to do so. We have turned an unbelievable tragedy into something wonderful, and we are confident of our mission, but it is through the support of the whole community that we will be able to fulfill my son’s and many other’s wish by finding a cure!

AWB: If you had to name one Beach Boy song that would sum up your dedication to your project, what song would it be and why?

My all-time favorite Beach Boy song is Good Vibrations, but their song that represents what I’m fighting for to win the battle against brain cancer is Long Promised Road, where it says… But I hit hard at the battle that’s confronting me, knock down all the roadblocks a-stumbling me…Long promised road flows to the source, gentle force, never ending, never ending.

Event information:

1st Annual Voices Against Brain Cancer “Sounding Off For A Cure” Benefit Concert @ The FILLMORE at Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami Beach
April 14, 2011
Red Carpet: 6:30 p.m.
Concert Starts: 7 p.m.
To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit www.voicesagainstbraincancer.org

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